With Mr. Freeze being one of my top five Batman villains, easily, the hype was very real for me going into this episode. It was very important to me that it be good. And it actually turned out fairly well. The episode stuck fairly close to the Mr. Freeze story as we know it, with a few drastic liberties. It’s very jarring to see Freeze killing people before having his own accident. But as different as that story point is, his motivation remains exactly the same.
Of course, Freeze isn’t the only thing going on in the episode. We left for the mid-season finale with Gordon leaving the city after killing Theo Galavan and I thought that might mean that we would spend some time with him trying to figure himself out. But as I’ve said many times while reviewing this show, Gotham has no interest in drawing out plotlines. Within the first two scenes of this episode, Gordon is reinstated.
We do at least get a quick scene of the Penguin on the streets and homeless before he turns himself in for the murder of Galavan. He happens to corroborate Gordon’s story even though they took no time to talk it out and get their facts straight. It’s just happenstance. In no time, Penguin finds himself in Arkham and it’s interesting to see him back at the bottom and completely powerless. Nobody listens to him here. Nobody cares what he’s accomplished or what he’s capable of. It’s an intriguing situation, but we’ve seen it before.
Two characters really saved this episode for me. One was Nora Fries. Nora is integral to making Victor’s story work and it’s important to make her count if we’re seeing her up and around before she gets permanently frozen. These scenes work. There’s not too much of a focus on them, but they are the most emotional of the episode. The other character didn’t just save the episode for me, he walked away with it, and that was Hugo Strange.
I didn’t really know what to expect out of Hugo Strange. I sat down to watch the episode so excited for Mr. Freeze and what they were going to do with that character, but Strange stole the show. B.D. Wong is a great actor, even though he too often is relegated to a smaller role as he was in both Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. This is a major Batman villain that we are seeing on the screen for the first time—which is a rare thing these days—and he nails it.
All in all, it feels like the first episode of a new season rather than a continuation of season two, but I like where it’s headed regardless. I’m on board and curious to see how this is going to unfold from here.